Area food pantries seek to fill needs

Calvary Temple Helping Hands food pantry has specific items available for houseless patrons, along with sample-size toiletries. The pantry is open on Tuesdays from 9 to 11:45 a.m. Photo by Dorri Partain

By Dorri Partain

Following a recent Facebook post regarding items needed but not available to food pantry patrons, the Northeast News reached out to area food pantries to find out if local donations fill basic needs.

In a post from November 19 with 295,000 shares, Tricia Ann Meyer of Fort Myers, Fla., relayed a list of items needed for meal preparation that may not be available at food pantries; can openers, and refrigerated staples like milk and butter to prepare boxed Mac & Cheese were prime examples.

Gene Hallinan, Communication Manager for Harvesters Community Food Network, confirmed that kitchen utensils such as can openers, spatulas, cooking spoons and paring knives have been added to the agency’s “most needed items” list.

“We get household utensils occasionally and package them for agencies – when we get enough, we put them on the Agency Menu,” from which agencies can request items to order, Hallinan said.

At Calvary Temple Assembly of God’s Helping Hands food pantry, can openers and other cooking utensils are not available – yet. Pantry Director Beverly Martinez said she’s only had one request for a can opener and she went out and bought one herself to give to the patron.

“I did not know they were available, but I will definitely request some on my next order,” Martinez said. “We do have non-perishable items available for the houseless, cans with pop tops, Mac & Cheese cups that don’t require any other ingredient than water.”

In addition to basic food items, Harvesters also requests toiletries – shampoo, soap, toilet paper, and deodorant – along with pet food, baby diapers and wipes that can be placed in area donation bins. The only donation bins in Northeast can be found at the entrance/exit doors inside the Price Chopper grocery at 5801 Wilson Rd.

At Grace United Community Church, the food pantry receives non-perishable and perishable supplies from Harvesters, as well as a network of churches that donate certain items.

According to Dr. Jesse Barnes, Executive Outreach Director at Grace United, their pet food supplies arrive from those other donations rather than Harvesters.

“In our holiday boxes, we add a package of napkins that we provide,” Barnes said. “We also create our baby bundles from outside donations.”

Depending on donations, the bundles may include diapers, wipes, baby shampoo, formula and a blanket.

While the pantry at Grace United doesn’t have any kitchen utensils in stock, if patrons requested them, they will try to provide them, either through Harvesters or through other donations. Barnes said he feels like nearly everything their pantry needs can be acquired through their network of donations.

Since 1979, Harvesters has provided food assistance in the metro area and currently supplies 760 non-profit agencies through private and corporate donations.

“The bottom line – we are so grateful for anything that someone donates to us,” Hallinan said. “Kansas City is really a giving community and anytime we ask for help, everyone steps up and donates to the barrels.”

Non-perishable food, toiletries, kitchen utensils, pet food and more can be placed in donation barrels or dropped off at the Harvesters’ warehouse at 3801 Topping Ave. For a complete list of requested items, visit their website at or call (816) 929-3000.

Northeast Area Food Pantries: (Call to confirm hours before visiting.)

Calvary Temple Helping Hands

5612 St. John Ave. 726-1526

Tuesday only, 9am-11:45am

Gathering Table

5001 Independence Ave.


Wednesday only, 9am-11:45am

Grace United Community

811 Benton Blvd. 231-5745

Mon.-Thrus. 10am-2pm

Bishop Sullivan Center

6435 Truman Rd. 231-0984

Mon. Thurs. 1pm- 4pm

Salvation Army

6618 Truman Rd. 241-6485

M-W-F 1pm- 2:45pm

Salvation Army Eastside

3013 E. 9th St. 483-8484

Opens 9am M-F, closing varies

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